Future Stars: Jake Paul (Team 10)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Jake Paul might be one of the most hated internet celebrities, but his debut music video has achieved viral success that many major music stars would envy. As of yesterday, It’s Everyday Bro had been viewed 32 million times, 12 days after its release. The 900,000 dislikes might not be so enviable, but I suspect Jake has already made more money from this video than the royalties from a typical 2017 hit single. The 20-year-old from Ohio first became famous on Vine, alongside his older brother Logan Paul (definitely not to be confused with the other Paul brothers). When the app closed, he moved his focus to YouTube, and as he boasts in It’s Everyday Bro, he gained 5 million subscribers in the first six months. The song features Team 10, the crew of bro-tactic influencers Jake is part of. He and his brother moved to LA when they got famous, and set up home with a group of fellow Viners. He created his own influencer agency to capitalise on his knowledge and success in marketing to teens. They’ve also translated their online success into opportunities in other media. Surprisingly, considering his controversial persona, Jake has a role on a Disney Channel sitcom, Bizaardvark. He’ll probably never have a chart hit, but his determination to be noticed suggests this won’t be the last we’ll see of him.

Future Stars: Pretty Much (Columbia/Syco)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Syco have been trying to launch their next big pop group for a while, and several projects seem to have fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years, but this one has real potential. Pretty Much are a new five-piece boyband based in LA, formed by label scouts and recently signed to a joint deal with Syco and Columbia. It’s ironic that the only company that has managed to create a viable boyband that isn’t a rip off of One Direction is 1D’s label. They’ve taken on the challenge of reinterpreting *N Sync for a new generation, and although their success will hinge on the quality of their music and marketing, the raw materials are all present and correct: dance skills, vocal harmonies, charisma, style and chemistry. They lack a strong lead singer, as their voices are generally indistinct and a little weak, but that’s my only criticism so far. The band is made up of Austin Porter (19), Brandon Arreaga (17), Edwin Honoret (18), Nick Mara (19) and Zion Kiwonu (17). They’ve been posting dance videos and acapella covers on social media, and have grown a large following on Instagram (where some of the members had an existing fanbase), but nowhere else. Nonetheless, the fan engagement is plain to see, and they’re already leaving rivals such as Island’s underwhelming Citizen Four in the dust.

Song of the Week: Neiked ft. Mimi – Call Me

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

It looks like we’re in for another summer of generic Spotify-pop, so we might as well try to enjoy it. As usual, we can look to the Swedes for help with this. The new single by producer Victor Rådström, aka Neiked, is a delightfully sweet pop tune. Call Me is the follow-up to his 2016 hit, Sexual. It was co-written by Camille Purcell, one of Little Mix’s main writers, along with Alex Papaconstantinou and Viktor Svensson (co-writers of poptastic Euro-hit Cool Me Down by Margaret), among others. Oh and yes, that lyric really does say “Cos you hit bottoms, hit them like no other.”

Future Hits: You the type that I could bake for

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

My weekly playlist features five tracks I predict will be future hit singles in the UK.

Tracklisting:

  • Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – Down
  • Martin Garrix ft. Troye Sivan – There For You
  • Major Lazer ft. Travis Scott, Camila Cabello & Quavo – Know No Better
  • Julia Michaels – Uh Huh
  • AJR ft. Louisa Johnson – Weak

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly (when I remember) with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Lauren Jauregui (label TBC)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

The Camila Cabello solo launch is now in full swing, with everything from a Major Lazer feature to an Ed Sheeran duet secured in the hopes she’ll be the next big pop star. Sadly, so far the music has been pretty underwhelming, but that does present an opportunity for one of her former bandmates to get ahead, and that person is undoubtedly Lauren Jauregui. The 20-year-old Cuban-American is the fan favourite in Fifth Harmony, and will benefit from being the underdog, without the pressure of the expectations Camila is facing. She’s known by fans for her more alternative taste in music, as a self-described “rock chick,” and last year she undramatically came out as bisexual. She earned credibility by featuring on the single Back To Me by up-and-coming electro duo Marian Hill, but her biggest win came last month when her duet with Halsey was released. Not only did this aide her cool positioning, but the song was well received (it’s one of Halsey’s best) and it makes a strong statement with its romantic/sexual lyrics between two female singers. Camila might have followed all the established steps to becoming a pop band’s breakout star, but Lauren is taking a path that feels way more relevant to 2017. As it stands, I can’t image giving Camila’s album more than one listen, but I’m already looking forward to Lauren’s. P.S. It’s pronounced “Hureggy.”

Future Stars: Logic (Visionary Music Group/Def Jam)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

This is one of those times when some of my readers will be rolling their eyes at how late I am on this artist, but just as many will have little clue who he is or why they should care. Logic may have been releasing music since 2009, but with his new album he has achieved his first UK top 20 album and his first US top 50 single. I had been aware of him by name for a few years, but only took notice when he collaborated with one of my favourite people on the current pop scene, Alessia Cara. Their song 1-800-273-8255 sounded like an undeniable hit, and I appreciated it even more when I found out the strange title is actually the phone number for the US National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Speaking of strange names, Logic’s real name is Sir Robert Bryson Hall II. He’s a 27-year-old rapper, singer, songwriter and producer, who became known for a series of EPs, before being signed to independent label Visionary Music Group, and later Def Jam. He released his third album Everybody last month, and it has already produced three big online hits: the aforementioned 1-800-273-8255, the title track Everybody, and what might become his signature song, Black SpiderMan. These tracks stand out for their accessible sound and commercial potential, and Black SpiderMan in particular is filled with witty, personal and topical lyrics.

Song of the Week: CNCO & Yandel – Hey DJ

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

After the success of Despacito, it would be nice for other similar Latin hits to be given a chance to cross over, and this new release is in prime position. Hey DJ by boyband CNCO and reggaeton artist Yandel has gained 36 million views in just over 3 weeks. CNCO are the product of Simon Cowell and Ricky Martin’s TV talent show La Banda, which formed a group out of auditionees from across Latin America. Hey DJ is the lead single from their forthcoming second album, and has a lovely summery vibe and a sweet teen party video. There’s also an amusing shoutout at the end when Yandel randomly says “Sony Music” – is this a thing in Latin music?

Future Hits: Let the music lift you up

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

My weekly playlist features five tracks I predict will be future hit singles in the UK.

Tracklisting:

  • Selena Gomez – Bad Liar
  • Camila Cabello – Crying in the Club
  • Burak Yeter ft. Danelle Sandoval – Tuesday
  • Maggie Lindemann – Pretty Girl – Cheat Codes X CADE Remix
  • Alan Walker ft. Gavin James – Tired

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly (when I remember) with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Confidence Man (Heavenly Recordings)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

One of the most talked-about acts of the festival was an Australian group on their first trip to the UK. I featured Confidence Man’s single Boyfriend (Repeat) as Song of the Week back in October last year, when I spotted it in the Aussie Shazam chart. At the time I compared them to CSS and LCD Soundsystem, but live their vibe is more 80s/90s – think B-52s and Deee-Lite. I hadn’t seen anyone talking about them before the festival, but once I got there everyone seemed to have heard of them, and word had quickly spread that they were great fun. Since my feature, they’ve released a follow-up single, a cheeky novelty song called Bubblegum, and signed to legendary London indie label Heavenly. As they haven’t put out any proper music videos yet, you can only get a sense of what they’re about by watching live performance videos such as this and this. The group, fronted by the perfectly named Janet Planet, is making the most of their inaugural UK visit with four London gigs, four sets at The Great Escape, and three shows at the various Dot To Dot Festivals this weekend. They’re also starting to find their place in the international music scene thanks to influential friends – they’ve supported Charlift (and Bubblegum was mixed by one of the members), and just released a remix of Magpie Eyes by their new labelmates, Saint Etienne. I don’t think Google image search will be bringing up pics like this when you type in “Confidence Man” for much longer.

 

Future Stars: Yungblud (Unsigned)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

An unexpected highlight of The Great Escape was Yungblud, aka Dom Harrison, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Doncaster who put on the most exciting, energetic show of the festival, fittingly filled with enthusiastic industry types. Musically he’s a young Jamie T meets Arctic Monkeys, and his look is Harry Styles with an edge. He has the charm of a pop star and the swagger of a rock star. He played a set full of anthemic songs with memorable, chant-along hooks, and even managed to start a moshpit in Brighton’s posh South Lanes. Yungblud’s debut single King Charles has been described as a protest song, with anti-establishment lyrics that demand a voice for young people. The singer backs up this message with political tweets, written in his strong Northern accent. Early wins have  included spot plays on Radio 1 and Radio X, and a slot in Spotify’s New Music Friday, thanks to the support of his management Locomotion and agents CAA. King Charles is the only song online so far, but clips of him performing Tin Pan Boy and Park Hill Romance give a sense of his live show. These high energy tracks were balanced in the set by Polygraph Eyes, a more sensitive moment that speaks directly to men who prey on drunk girls. If you’d asked me last week what the music industry was missing right now, I would never have described this, but all the elements add up to make perfect sense for 2017.